Charles Henry Grasty.

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Copyright, 1918, by
The Century Co.

Copyright, 1918, by
Thi N»w York Times Cobp*iit

Published, May, 1918



Message fkom Geneeal Pershing .... . ix
Introduction xi


I Exit Asquith : Enter Lloyd George . . 3

II President Wilson's Proposals: Europe's

Reception of Peace Without Victory . 10

III A Lincoln-Day Message to America from

THE Rt. Hon. David Lloyd George . . 27

IV Glimpses at the Front 31

V The Flight from Berlin Home with Ge-
rard 51

VI American Men of the War .... 63

VII French Men of the War 77

VIII The British Men of the War .... 105

IX To Europe with Pershing 143

X Our Army in France 153

XI The Agony of France 168

XII In Switzerland 179

XIII A Corner op Alsace Reconquered . . . 222

XrV To the Rescue of Italy 241

XV Great Britain at Bay 255

XVI The Nivelle Offensive 283

XVII In Conclusion 297


Charles H. Grasty . , Frontispiece


Crossing the Channel 48

British Troops Disembarking at a French Port . 49
Arrival of General Pershing at Boulogne-Sur-Mer . 49

The Fo'c'sle of a British Battleship 128

A British Battleship Taking in Oil Fuel at Sea . . 129

The To\^^l Hall at Peronne 160

At Bapaume ........... 161

Inconnu r. • 192

A Soldier's Cemetery 193

British Tanks 224

With the British Troops in France— A Night Picket 225
Shipbuilding on the Clyde . . . . . . . .260

A Shipyard on the Clyde 261

A British Battleship at Night . . . . . .292

Captain Guynemer ..... ,. . . • 293

The Ulustrations to this book are lent to The Century Co., by the British


This great war is teaching new things every day.
War on such a scale affords unprecedented oppor-
tunity for originality. While methods change,
human character remains, and other things being
equal, character will decide the last battle.

This war found us as a nation nakedly unpre-
pared, but our people had the stamina, the moral
sense, the instinct for the light and the right. It is
a fine thing to us soldiers in the service to look
toward home and see a mighty people responding
to the call of idealism, turning nobly toward duty
in the splendid spirit expressed in the phrase the
"utmost for the highest." We may make mistakes
here and there in this detail or in that, but we have
the practical mind, and with each new experience
we shall move to a higher level of excellence.

Of the human material that America is sending
to this war I can speak with exactness. It is the
best, and with enough of such material there can
be no doubt of America's showing. I have always
had only one opinion of American soldiers, and that
opinion has been more than confirmed in France.
Given the opportunity, the American Army in


France will fulfill the best that has been expected
of it.

The history of this war cannot be written without
the perspective that time alone can give. In the
meanwhile such chronicles as the author has
presented supply the public with current infor-
mation and preserve a useful record for the his-
torian. The exceptional opportunities of observa-
tion enjoyed by the author will make this volume
one of the best among contemporary publications
on the war.


[I asked my friend Mr, Colvin, who is a master craftsman
in editorial, or "leader/ writing, and whose pen, as all who
read the "Morning Post" know, is incapable of dullness, to
make an introduction for despatches that through the generous
courtesy of the "New York Times" and the venturesome en-
terprise of the Century Company are here published in book
form. I hardly hoped for an essay in his best vein presenting
his favorite doctrines for the serious consideration of America.
But he has evidently seized the occasion to challenge a school
of politico-economic thought in America the ideas of which
were very largely drawn from the British policy upon which
Mr. Colvin makes so spirited an attack. To that school of
tariff reform — a term that means in America precisely the
opposite of what it does in England — I myself belong. While
I disagree with much that Mr. Colvin says on this head, I am
glad to afford him a medium through which he may present a
group of contentions constituting a protest that is likely to
shake, if not to change, the existing economic order at the close
of the war. The standpoint which Mr. Colvin has chosen ap-
peals almost irresistibly to the conservative temperament, as


we have seen in America, where the protective system has long
stood against attack. My good friend will find himself in
highly respectable company in the United States. — C. H. G.]

Two j^ears or so before you Americans entered
this great war, my good friend Mr. Grasty used
to drop into my office. It was at a time when
American life seemed pretty cheap, and I 'm afraid
we used to chaff Mr. Grasty about the dollar value
of American citizenship. "What are American
lives worth to-day?" we would say, and we re-
marked that American honor was like American
oil: it was no doubt clear and bright, but with a
high flash-point. Mr. Grasty took it all in very
good part. Although American citizens were hav-
ing rather a rough time in Europe in those days
he was always cheerful, always smiling, and always
confident. "That's all right," he would say; "my
country is all right. We will come in in our own
time. Let them pile it up." A phrase that he
used stuck in my memory : "The President is try-
ing to get into the war with a united country behind
him. He will break with Germany when he can
do no otherwise."

Well, Mr. Grasty turned out to be a good prophet
on his own country. He never wavered in his faith
that his country would vindicate the honor of its
sovereignty. He beheved in the Allied cause and
he believed that his fellow-citizens believed in it.


He knew that his President understood the interest
and honor of America and the issues at stake in
the war. And the fact that in all these things he
turned out to be right is to me at least, a sufficient
recommendation for this book.

Now that he has asked me to write an intro-
duction to his little volume of Day-by-Day De-
spatches, I think it only right to do my best ta
"put you wise," as Mr. Grastj^ would say, on the
war as we see it over here. There has been a good
deal too much flattery and a good deal too much
rhetoric, too many resounding phrases, too many
plausible catchwords in the declarations and mani-
festos of the Allies. I am not one of those who
believe that the war is merely a vindication of the
rights of small nations or that its object is to make
the world safe for democracy, or that it is going
to end war, or that it is going to lead to a league of
nations in which the Prussian wolf will lie down
contented and happy on equal terms with the Bel-
gian lamb. All these phrases may have their value
for what you in America, I believe, call "spell-
binding," but they are confusing and irritating to
a plain man. Much better get right down to the
bed-rock of facts!

And the bed-rock, as we now see it over here,
is that the Allied nations are fighting for their
existence. In the nineteenth century Germany
had made herself so strong by war and by industrial


and economic organization that it seemed possible
to her to conquer and possess the whole world.
It was not a new idea with the German people;
on the contrary, it was an idea so old that almost
everybody except the Germans had forgotten all
about it. But let us remember that the Germans
are great students of history, and that the Ger-
man idea of history is that Germany succeeded to
the Holy Roman Empire. The Germans sacked
Rome and set the imperial crown on the German
brow. The Germans maintained that crown for
many centuries. All through the Middle Ages the
German princes struggled for the honor of being
elected not kings of Germany, but kings of Rome.
When they were elected kings of Rome by their
own people they made their triumphal march over
the Alps and were crowned emperors by the pope.
If the pope ever quarreled with this arrangement,
they carried fire and sword into the plains of
Lombardy and threatened Rome itself. The pope
was sometimes a prisoner of the emperor, and the
papal policy was often dictated by the imperial

It is interesting, also, to remember that this
political supremacy of what we might call "Ger-
mandom," had its economic side. Does the Ameri-
can public, which, I am told, reads history a good
deal, realize that all through the Middle Ages the
German merchants governed the commerce of


Europe? The Hanseatic League is now only a
vague name ; yet at one time it exercised a real and
absolute sway from Iceland to Venice, from
Novgorod to London. And what was the Han-
seatic League? It called itself "The Society of
German Merchants of the Holy Roman Empire."
The imperial eagle was quartered on its coat of
arms: it was represented in the imperial diet, and
its motto was a motto of world power: "Mein
Feld ist die Welt" my field is the world.

It was an organization of some seventy German
cities ; Liibeck the chief, and after Liibeck, Dantzic,
Hamburg, Cologne, which founded its power on the
monopoly of the shipping materials of the Baltic,
and the Russian trade. No ships could be built in
northern Europe without the maritime stores which
came from ports and teiTitories controlled by the
Hanseatic League. If the King of England
wanted a fl^eet, he had to buy it from Liibeck, and
English policy was dictated by those who ruled the
sea. There was a time when the Hanseatic League
virtually governed England. The extent of its
power is shown by the privileges it possessed. The
Germans had in their keeping one of the gates of
London. They had fortified wharves on the
Thames, and fortified warehouses known to medi-
eval England as the Steelyard. They had the right
to import and export goods on a special tariff not
only lower than the tariff paid by all other foreign-


ers, but lower than the tariff paid by Englishmen
themselves. They were free from internal tax-
ation, and they were superior to English law.
They had their own courts to try causes between
them and the natives of England. As they con-
trolled all the metals, including silver, then the cur-
rency of Europe, the kings of England were usu-
ally in their debt, and we know that the borrower
is the servant of the lender. They used this su-
premacy to dictate the policy of England, and when
their demands became too extortionate, they block-
aded English ports and stopped English commerce.
England at that time was a poor country exporting
only wool and a rough, undressed cloth to Flanders.
This foreign commerce was ahnost entirely in the
hands of German merchants. There is in existence
a letter from a representative of the Hanseatic
League in London "to the Worshipful Senate of
Liibeck," in which he speaks quite truly of the realm
of England as "under the thumb of the Hanseatic

How England freed herself from this German
domination would be a long story, and it would
take me beyond the scope of this introduction. I
should have to tell how English merchants organ-
ized themselves on national lines, and how they
established relations with Russia by way of Arch-
angel, and how they sent out their httle ships to


explore Newfoundland and Virginia for timber and
turpentine and other naval stores.

You may read part of the story in Hakluyt's
"Voyages." Thus, for example. Captain Christo-
pher Carlile in his "briefs and summary discourse
upon the intended voyage to the hithermost parts
of America," which he wrote in April, 1583, gives
as one of his reasons why the voyage should be

The badde dealings of the Easterlings [that is, Hanseatics]
are sufficiently known to be such towards our merchants of
that trade [the trade with Russia and the Baltic] as they
do not only offer them many inj uries over long to bee written ;
but doe seek all the meanes they can, to deprive them wholly
of their occupying that way: and to the same purpose have
of late cleane debarred them their accustomed and ancient
privileges in all their great townes.^

I should also have to tell how the Hanseatic
League provided the Spanish Armada with ship's
tackling and munitions of war in order to defeat
the national policy of Queen Elizabeth, and reduce
England to her old position of economic servitude
to the German Empire ; and how our English mer-
chants helped Queen Elizabeth and our Enghsh
Navy to defeat that great conspiracy. German
sea power had grown great by a monopoly of the
Baltic; English sea power gi'ew great by adventur-

1 Hakluyt's "Voyages" (1904 edition), Vol. VIII, p. 135.


ing to Newfoundland and Virginia ; and in the end
the Atlantic defeated the North Sea, or as it used
to be called, the German Ocean.

Thus the birth of America is directly connected
with this old and forgotten struggle between Ger-
man and English commerce. The power and
wealth drawn from the West broke the Hanseatic
domination, and Germany went down in the revolu-
tion and ruin of the Thirty Years' War. For two
centuries Germany hardly counted as a great power.
"Germany," said Bismarck in the middle of the
nineteenth century, "is only now recovering from
the Thirty Years' War." And Friedrich List,
whose writings are well known in America, wrote
about 1840 of Germany as a country completely
under the commercial domination of England.
But Germany had not forgotten her history. She
had not forgotten her old motto "Mein Feld ist die
Welt." She had not forgotten that she had once
ruled England, and that England had broken her
ancient power. And she had not forgotten that
the strength of the Anglo-Saxon race lay as much
in America as in England. It would be too long
a business to trace step by step the rebirth and
growth of the German Empire. After all, it is
a story well enough known. Wars with Denmark,
with Austria, and with France reestablished the
power of the German sword. The Zollverein and
the organization of great metal and electrical indus-


tries created a new Hanseatic League far more
powerful than the old. He who is master of steel
is master of the world if he knows how to use it;
and Germany, who knew how to use it, before the
war produced more steel than England, France,
and Russia put together. It was not, taking their
history and position into account, so unreasonable
for the German to suppose that they might again
live up to the old Hanseatic motto, "Mein Feld ist
die Weltr

It was not to be done at a stroke. France must
first be knocked out as a military power. Russia
must be either defeated or squared. Germany
must command more ports on the North Sea.
When she had established her supremacy in Europe,
then was the time to deal with England and after
England, America.

In the years before the war we might trace the
development of this policy. Russia was pushed
into a war with Japan in order to divert Russian
military power from the German border to the
Pacific coast, and when Russia was in difficulties,
Germany took the opportunity of fixing upon her
a commercial treaty that gave Germany the whole
of the Russian market. In the meantime a vast
network of railways was being got ready for the
attack upon France, and as a preliminary, Belgium
was penetrated in every direction by German
agents. Wliile Germany was building her fleet,


England was being beguiled and seduced by atten-
tions and flatteries. Everything was done that
could be done, sometimes by flatteries and some-
times by threats, to separate England from France
and to secure at least English neutrality if not
English friendship. Let me give one example out
of many:

At the end of October, 1912, there was a well
organized peace conference of Germans, Anglo-
Germans, and English friends of Germany, held
at the Guildliall in London. One of the principal
speakers was Ilerr Hermann Hecht of Berlin, who
delivered a lecture to prove that it was to the in-
terest of England to throw in her lot with Germany
against America. England and Germany, he said,
should stand together to meet the danger that comes
from the United States, whose rapidly developing
industries had become a menace to both countries.

I need not disguise from you that at that time
there was a party in England, as there was a party
in France, which preached submission to Germany
as the best and safest poHcy. Mr. J. A. Spender,
the editor of the "Westminster Gazette," wrote a
series of articles to prove that England could secure
peace with Germany on certain conditions. Among
these conditions were these, that England should
never have a large army and that she should guar-
antee Germany perpetual free trade in English


These conditions bring us face to face with
the economic question. And the economic question
is the key to the whole war. When Mr. Spender
proposed that Germany should have perpetual free
trade in England as a condition of peace, he pro-
posed nothing less than the abdication of British
sovereignty. He proposed that England should
become an annex of Germany's industrial system,
and that the British Empire itself, as far as its
economic policy could be controlled by the Central
Government, should also be part of the German
economic power. If this design had been carried
out, and it was in the way of being carried out,
Germany would have based her military power on
the whole wealth and resources of a British Empire
enslaved to her interests, and would have become
as an industrial power, the equal, if not the superior,
of the United States. The Germans had already
gone some way upon this road. Almost every
British industry was penetrated by German influ-
ence. It was a curious swing of the pendulum.
In the early part of the nineteenth century the
British trade interests were supreme in almost every
German city. Hamburg was a depot of the
English cloth trade, and there was a quarter in
Berlin called "Petty Manchester." In 1914, upon
the eve of this great war, there was a quarter in
Manchester which might have been called "Petty
Berlin." Bradford, the center of the English


woolen trade, was full of Germans. London was
so much under the thumb of German finance that
when the war broke out one German magnate had
to be naturalized in order to save British credit.
The Deutsche Bank had an office in which it em-
ployed no less than four hundred clerks, its princi-
pal business being to secure German savings to fin-
ance German industries. Other German banks
were almost as strongly represented. The metal
exchange had become almost a German monopoly,
Germany controlled the spelter and the copper
which was mined in the British Empire. Germany
was strong in the English coal trade, and had al-
ready begun to buy up Welsh coal-mines. German
shipping had forced its way into the British con-
ferences. Australia supplied Germany with her
metals. South Africa with her wool, India with her
hides and jute. No difference was made whether
they went to Germany or England, although the
Germans were ahnost openly using this wealth to
forge a hammer with which to break the British
Empire in pieces. In every British city there was
an influential party, small perhaps in numbers, but
strong in wealth, that was bound to German in-
terests by something stronger than sentiment —
* 'Where your treasure is, there will your heart be

Besides the Germans themselves, naturalized and
unnaturalized, who formed centers of German


propaganda, those Englishmen who lived by the
German trade were blind to the German danger.
They were not only blind ; they considered it a ben-
efit. An enemy who put money into their pockets
was no enemy to them. They grew fat on the
danger that threatened their countrymen. And
they were more than reconciled, they rejoiced in
the approaching supremacy of the German indus-
trial system.

You in America do not quite understand this
danger, because you are protected by a high tariff
wall in which your industries grow up strong and
secure. Generally speaking, the German who goes
to America must become an American. He must
throw in his lot with you. He cannot be merely
an advance agent for a German industry. Your
tariff prevents it. When he comes to you he must
bring with him the sum of his energies and his cap-
ital, and he must plant his industry on American
soil. In England it is different owing to our lack
of protection. The German in England is the for-
warding agent of Germany. He remains a Ger-
man, not only a German in blood, but a German in
interest. That is a difference between protection
and free trade which economists have not observed.
It is a vital difference nevertheless.

This German party in England had its reflection
in British politics. I may say without exaggera-
tion that it controlled the British Government in


the nine years before the war. Joseph Cham-
berlain in his tariff-reform movement had what was
in essence a nat^nal movement to protect England
against this German danger. It was never so de-
scribed. Indeed, those who took part in it did not
realize the object of their own crusade. Cham-
berlain always placed his movement on the lower
ground of increasing British wealth. It might
have been better if he had placed it on the higher
ground of protecting British nationality. But
Chamberlain had the limitations of his class and
upbringing, and he was disaraied at the very be-
ginning, or so I am told, by a telegram which he
received from the German Emperor, who congrat-
ulated him on his policy and wished him success. It
was a move which showed that the Germans well
understood Chamberlain's friendly and unsuspicious
character, and nothing could have been better cal-
culated to take the sting and fire out of the national

But in Chamberlain's time the German danger
was neither so great nor so obvious as it afterwards
became. It advanced in giant strides when the
Liberal party took up the German cause. I have
said enough to show that the German cause in
England is the cause of free trade, that is to say,
a cause which is willing to acquiesce in the free entry
of German manufactures while Germany main-
tains her tariff on British manufactures.


Why did the Liberal party take up the German
cause? I am not prepared to swear. It is a mat-
ter of guess-work and suspicion. But the fact re-
mains that they fought in the cause of Germany
with an ardor and a skill which, if it had been used
against Germany, would have given us the victory
long ago. The common explanation is the party-
fund system. Democrac}^ is to the party sj^stem,
what religion is to the average man — he worships
it on Sunday and follows his own interests all the
rest of the week. The chief interest of a political
party is to get into power, and in England that
interest cannot be served without a plentiful supply
of money. It is calculated that a general election
costs one million pounds sterling, a capital value
which is represented in interest by the salaries of
ministers and offices given to friends and a policy
calculated to benefit supporters. It is obvious that
a milhon pounds sterhng does not come out of the
air, and it is certain that the great German indus-
tries represented in England either by German or
English men, supplied a certain proportion of this
party fund. They were fairly safe in so doing,
because in this country a party fund is a secret fund.
It is in the hands of one man. It is never publicly
audited, I believe it is not even secretly audited.
There are no books kept, or at least no books open
to the public. Even the political chief of the part\^
does not know how the money comes or how it is

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Online LibraryCharles Henry GrastyFlashes from the front → online text (page 1 of 19)